Author Archives: Nora Robertson

RealSelf Learning: Owning Your Space

RealSelf employees practice their self-defense techniques.

This week we turned part of our office into a temporary dojo when we launched our new learning series with a self-defense class. Rachel and Jordan from Fighting Chance Seattle joined RealSelf for an afternoon to teach us about empowerment, awareness, and, ultimately, confidence.

The class started with a conversation about moments when some of us hadn’t felt confident in our safety and what we were hoping to get from the class. Jordan began by helping us understand why we should trust our intuition and built up to helping us practice feeling comfortable saying a simple and direct “No.”

“I believe in teaching you skills not only for an extreme situation but skills you can practice and build in your day-to-day experiences. Practice your firm ‘no’ with a telemarketer. Seriously! The more you practice, the easier it will be to clearly and directly say no when your intuition says you need to,” explained Jordan.

Fighting Chance Seattle demonstrates for RealSelf.

“Hearing out loud ‘Whatever your intuition is telling you: you’re right.’ was super cool!” said Kimberly Lund, RealSelf Office Manager.

Eventually, Jordan and Rachel moved to some training, both demoing some moves and letting us get some hands-on-pads practice. The bottom line? “Put something hard somewhere soft,” Jordan said as he pointed to his elbow and the base of his palm.

Special thanks to Fighting Chance Seattle for sharing their knowledge and expertise in an approachable, welcoming, and totally-not-scary format. For those interested in more, the Ballard dojo features a variety of martial arts classes and monthly self-defense workshops with a focus on empowerment and awareness.

The RealSelf Learning series will feature a different class, talk, or event every month that supports learning focused on personal and professional development to make us more confident in our daily lives.

Want to join our next class? We’re hiring!

RealSelf Fellow Changes Lives in Guatemala

As one of our first RealSelf Fellows, we were excited to talk with Dr. Larry S. Nichter about his recent volunteer trip. The Orange County plastic surgeon traveled to Guatemala and Cuba with the Plasticos Foundation in November.

This visit to Guatemala is Dr. Nichter’s latest in a long-standing relationship among Plasticos, Dr. Nichter, and the local medical community. In Guatemala, Dr. Ernesto Cofino was introduced to Plasticos through his local nonprofit group, Angeles en la Terra (Earth Angels). From their first meeting in the 1990s, Dr. Nichter was impressed by Dr. Cofino’s commitment to helping his fellow Guatemalans access much-needed reconstructive surgery.

Why Guatemala?

Photo courtesy of the Plasticos Foundation

Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America, but there is no plastic surgery training program. Dr. Nichter shares RealSelf’s belief that medical professionals can make a dramatic difference in these communities by helping build sustainable surgical resources. By working with local doctors, these efforts also help build self-sufficiency and reduce dependence on foreign care.

On trips to Guatemala, Dr. Nichter works with Dr. Cofino to show him how to correct progressively more difficult deformities. During Dr. Nichter’s last visit, Plasticos received a specific request to show doctors there how to make an ear.

Treating a condition called microtia, which causes children to be born without an ear, is one of the most complex reconstructive surgeries that can be performed. But with the help of the Plasticos doctors, Dr. Cofino performed his first procedure to treat this condition by the end of this trip.

Teach a Man to Fish or Build an Ear

“To have a significant impact you need to foster training of local medical personnel and support them to become independent over time,” Dr. Nichter said. “Just like the Chinese proverb, ‘Give a man a fish and feed him for one day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.’

“After we leave, surgeons continue to operate on many children with conditions they were once fearful [of] or could not treat,” he added. “That way our efforts are leveraged, multiplying the number of patients taken care of.”

Eventually, Dr. Nichter hopes to work with Dr. Cofino to start the first plastic surgery residency program to tackle the immense demand for reconstructive surgery in Guatemala. For now, he’s satisfied with the knowledge that he’s changing young lives.

“To have a child at that young age desire and look forward to the surgery and try to smile through the discomfort,” Dr. Nichter said. “Tells volumes.”

What is the RealSelf Fellowship?

The RealSelf Fellowship awards funding to medical professionals who donate their time and expertise to deliver care and training in underserved communities around the world.

Learn more about the RealSelf Fellowship and how to apply here.

RealSelf Adds Former TripAdvisor Executive Christine Petersen to Board of Directors

Christine PetersenRealSelf has gained an important new team member with the addition of Christine Petersen to our board of directors.

“When I first conceived RealSelf, I often expressed my vision as building TripAdvisor for the face, body, and smile,” said RealSelf CEO Tom Seery. “Ten years later, and with a thriving online community, I am delighted to bring Christine and her unique marketing and consumer insights to our board.”

Petersen was a key member of the early leadership team at TripAdvisor for nearly a decade. At TripAdvisor, she served as Chief Marketing Officer from 2004 to 2010, and then launched and served as President of the company’s TripAdvisor for Business group from 2010 to 2013.

Petersen also serves on the boards of London-based digital and print publisher Time Out Group, and Bankrate, Inc, a consumer financial services company based in New York City.

“As we continue to establish a category-leading lifestyle brand and expand globally, Christine will provide key feedback and guidance in a number of strategic areas,” Seery added.

Petersen will serve alongside current board members Seery, RealSelf Founder/CEO; Rich Barton, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Zillow Group and founder of Expedia; and Mike Slade, founding partner of Second Avenue Partners.

Watch: Why We Love Working at RealSelf

We’re excited to share two new videos about why RealSelf is such a great place to work!

Our Online Community

The RealSelf team talks about how our online community brings transparency to life-changing decisions, while also being a trusted place for people to share experiences. 

“We’re providing information and community for people that are in transformative places in their lives,” says Ed Anderson, a DevOps engineer.

Work Life at RealSelf

Look inside our beautiful new office space and hear what inspires us about working here.

“You definitely get access to have your voice heard, whether it be in decisions about what we do in the office, or big product changes that are going to impact millions of people in the community,” says Jennifer Moses, our PR director.

Want to learn more about working at RealSelf? Check out our careers page for information about joining our team.